EDET678 EQ: What are the compelling arguments both for and against computer coding in schools?

Aleta May
EDET 678 Emerging Technologies with Aleta May
Week Six Initial Blog

Presently, coding is a part of the many apps we use daily, and the uses include “thermostats, cars and just about every device we own” (Sehringer, M., 2016, p. 2). Therefore, knowing how to code is a pathway to understanding the operations of a computer app. Sehringer makes a really important point about how coding may soon not even be the best way to build apps; further stating that “we need to remove code—and all its complexity” (p.3). I agree with the idea that what seems so important today will be exchanged for the next disruptive technology tomorrow. But think about how the Programming Interface: Scratch can be used by students to integrate digital story telling for a science concept, by explaining the problem in a series of scenes or through a how-to video , both based on pre-drawn storyboards that allowed students to pre-plan where animation or restrictions in development would come in when applying code (Hansen, Iveland, Dwyer, Harlow, & Franklin, 2015). The students become problem solvers when they apply coding across the curriculum. They have to define and delimit the problem (constraints of coding and assignment demands—like how many characters and scenes will be in the story), develop multiple solutions and optimize the solotion by identifying failure points (Hansen, et al., p. 61). The grading rubric would include computer science and content knowledge.

According to Welcome (2015) “coding is the language this generation speaks. . . ) (p. 26). Coding also encourages discovery and collaborating to solve problems. Most students are motivated to use coding in their school assignments. Coding coursework prepares students for college-level courses and jobs (Shueh, 2014). I believe all 50 states should allow high school students to use computer science courses for math or science credits toward graduation—and embed it along the way. This is a class in how to create technology, this is very different from just using computers.

Since a student’s day can be so filled with required curriculum standards and coursework, (Guest Author, 2015), the answer is to hybrid courses—“replace your math class with a math/CS hybrid class” (p. 2). We are already going this route when we declare that every teacher is a reading/writing teacher in every subject area. I agree that along with this, we need to embed the language of the day—computer coding.

I am opposed to not adding coding into the curriculum after reading all the literature as to how much a part of our students’ lives computer science really is. Therefore, the cons are impossible for me to find.

Resources

3 Reasons coding should be a core subject by Guest Author, September, 29, 2015 From Getting Smart. Retrieved 6-20-16:  http://gettingsmart.com/2015/09/3-reasons-coding-should-be-a-core-subject/

Twenty Resources for Teaching Kids How to Program & Code by Severine Baron, Feb 20, 2014 Retrieved 6-20-16:  http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/20-resources-for-teaching-kids-how-to-program-code-200374

Should we really try to teach everyone to code? Sponsor Content: Gottfried Sehringer, Mendix WIRED:  Retrieved 6-20-16  http://www.wired.com/insights/2015/02/should-we-really-try-to-teach-everyone-to-code/

Hansen, A. K., Iveland, A., Dwyer, H., Harlow, D. B., & Franklin, D. (2015). Programming digital stories and how-to animations: Computer science and engineering design in the science classroom. Science and Children, pp. 60-64.

Harrell, M. (2015, 17 March). Add coding to your elementary curriculum . . . right now. Edutopia.

Shueh, J. (2014, 25 June). Advocacy groups push coding as a core curriculum: Students must learn how to create technology to prepare for a computer-driven workforce.

5 thoughts on “EDET678 EQ: What are the compelling arguments both for and against computer coding in schools?

  1. akmathteacher

    I like your idea to allow high school students to use computer science courses for math. But we need to be sure that students can not only get their math credits through computer science courses. I think that in HS students should need 4 credits of math to graduate. The first three credits should be the required math classes (algebra, Geometry, ect) and the fourth credit should be an elective math class. A computer science could count as their fourth credit.

    Reply
    1. aletakmay Post author

      Thank you for your reply, Brian! Could computer science be embedded into geometry and algebra? I’m sure this sounds a lot easier than the reality of putting this together. It would be nice to have some ready made curriculum embedded into the course as a place to launch. Aleta

      Reply
  2. Pingback: Week 6 Reflection for EDET678: What are the compelling arguments both for and against computer coding in schools? | aleta57

  3. triciaturley05

    I like your hybrid idea. However, as a person who went through the math education program for teaching 5-12 grade, I would like to see that hybrid idea modeled on the college level to help me get a better grasp of how that might look at the high school level. That would help me feel more prepared for teaching that type of class. I’ve been out of teaching high school math for years, but I still cannot wrap my brain around it. I’m just not familiar with enough coding. I also like Brian’s idea of 3 regular math classes and a choice of a hybrid math/computer science class for the fourth class.

    Reply
    1. aletakmay Post author

      Tricia–Thank you so much for your response to my post as well! I feel the same as far as not being familiar enough with coding yet to apply it to teaching yet. For me it will take experimentation–but I am not a high school math teacher at all! Also, coding will need to become a hobby so I feel comfortable getting started using it in classes I teach–along with this Arduino electronics concepts. I am noticing myself learning faster than I thought I would, however. One thing I am noticing is that when I am in the village, I need things to do after work. Previously, when I taught here in Oregon, my husband and I had 3 daughters still at home, and we were taking care of my mom, as well as building our house. I taught part time, and Dan drove 50 mins each way to & from work. So I definitely can relate to what it is like not to have extra time to devote to experimenting on my own time. I think we need curriculum in Math handed to us that has enough coding instructions that directly apply to Algebra and Geometry (and fractals) to get going. I dream big–but start small.

      Reply

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